You’ve recently purchased a Tallahassee home, and you’re all moved in, or maybe you’ve been at that residence for many years. All you know the time to address your home’s exterior landscape is now.
What you see looks okay…but…what you envisioned your property to look like really needs a landscaper’s golden touch to take it from ho-hum to WOW!
So, how do you choose a landscaper to fix your yard and bring your vision to life? In today’s column, we’ll cover how to select a landscaper, your budget, your specs, and a whole lot more.
Determine your landscape budget
Before you choose a landscaper to fix your yard, we highly recommend that you first establish a budget for yourself and the project. If you have a spouse or partner, discuss with them what kind of monies both of you want to invest in your landscape project.
Also, decide if you want the project done all at once, or scheduled-out in phases to keep expenses down. Some Leon County homeowners find it easier to do a little bit at a time. Examples of some manageable stages, i.e., spring, summer, fall, or 2019, 2020, 2021, etc.
Creating your set of landscape specifications
Before you meet with any landscaping company, we recommend that you develop a set of specs for yourself: layout exactly how you want your landscape to look, the feel, and the tone. When you're talking to a landscape designer or landscaper, your documented requirements give the professional a clear idea of what direction you want to go in and accomplished in the yard.
If you’ve never used a landscaping company, you do want a general idea of what rates and prices are for your project. So, along with your budget and specifications, you now have some idea of what you want and a way to begin comparing prices. And speaking of costs, we also recommend that you contact a minimum of three landscaping firms before signing a landscaping contract.
Who is going to do the work?
With your budget and specs in place, now it’s time to decide who's going to do the work. Will it be a landscape architect, a landscape designer, or a landscape contractor? If you are not sure of the difference between these professions, here is a brief overview.
Landscape Architect – They will have advanced education and professional training. Typically they will work on large or customer landscaping projects, for instances, when a property is undergoing a complete transformation, i.e., redesigning parks, campuses, resorts, etc.
Landscape Designer – They will have a horticulture background, along with nursery and farming experience. Commonly they design landscapes for new homes or redevelop an existing area. Their training also helps them advise homeowners against costly planting mistakes.
Landscape Contractor – This professional plants new shrubbery and trees; removes, modifies or replaces existing plants and materials, such as dead leaves and old mulch; installs new planting beds; and can sod or seed a new lawn. They also provide ongoing yard maintenance services.
All-in-One – There are some landscaping companies, due to the scope of work they get or the number of years they’ve been in business, their growth has permitted them to have all three professions under one roof.
Whomever you decide to hire, locating a landscape company is pretty straightforward. When searching online keywords or phrases to use in a search engine are landscaping, landscaper, landscape design, landscaper near me, landscaping near me, etc.
Let’s talk about the landscaper’s insurance coverage for a minute
It’s an all too familiar story. A landscaping company provides a service, but along the way, something gets damaged, and they are at fault. Upon further inquiry, you discover the business owner doesn’t have the proper insurance to cover the property damage, or they have no protection at all.
So, before you sign their contract, you must insist on seeing proof that they are adequately insured. Some Leon County homeowners will take it a step further and call the insurance company ahead of time to verify the landscaping firm’s coverage.
Are landscaping references relevant in a Google review world?
In this day and age where anonymous individuals can leave excellent or bogus reviews about any company, it will still do you well to also seek out clients from a company you’re considering hiring. Trustworthy landscaping companies are more than willing to provide you with references you can contact at your leisure.
Many of those references will allow you to stop by their property to see the landscaping teams work. As you meet with them, ask them questions about their experience, any issues with teams, if any problems arose and how quickly did that company resolve the issue.
Get landscaping warranty questions answered in writing
When you meet with a landscaping firm for the first time, you want to nail down their warranty policy in that first meeting. Some firms will give you a verbal assurance they guarantee their work. We highly recommend having all those details documented in writing, which does two things, it protects you, the homeowner, and it protects the landscaping company as well.
We do hope, with our recommendations, you can design your landscape with ease, or if you need to hire a landscaper, you can use our tips to pick a good designer. At Dickerson Landscaping and Lawn Care, we specialize in complete landscaping design and lawn care grooming. When shopping around for these services, give us a call.
If you found “How Do I Choose a Tallahassee Landscaper to Fix My Yard?” helpful, then check out this other article “What Should I Know Before Buying a Garden Leaf Blower?”